It’s official. I’ve written for 200 days in a row on 750words.com. That’s the longest streak and I’m extremely proud of it. It really is amazing how this simple act of staring at a blank screen every day for 200 days and managing to write something (anything, really), has helped me avoid writer’s block and get 3 chapters of my dissertation written. Of course, there’s more to successful writing than just 750words.com, but I do credit it with helping me get through these last months.
In other dissertation writing news, I would also say that Demystifying Dissertation Writing is also a great resource for anyone who is either starting or in the process of writing a dissertation. This is especially true if you’re like me and prefer a systematic approach to writing. I really like her writing chart in which you chart the time that you write in short blocks (15-20 minutes) and the process from interactive note taking –> focus statement –> short outline –> long outline –> draft. Her tips make a lot of sense, she incorporates real classroom anecdotes, and the book is available at at reasonable price.
Two other things that have helped over the last few months are: (1) my dissertation writing group and (2) the Pomodoro technique. My dissertation writing group started at the beginning of the spring semester and we meet twice a week. We set goals together, chart progress, hash out frustrations, and do fun exercises from books like Stylish Academic Writing. We’re going to start experimenting with a help-line through Google Hangout because sometimes it’s just easier to work while you know someone else is (virtually) with you.
Whenever I can’t seem to get started working, I just start a Pomodoro (25 minute block of time). I use the Promodoro! App, which I really like, though there are plenty others to choose from. After 25 minutes of working, I take a 5 minute break for stretching or checking email. After 4 rounds of 25 minutes, the app gives you a 15 minute break. In the morning, I usually get through about 4 pomodoros easily, and stretch it to 6 if I’m really on a roll.